Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Fitbit Inspire 2: Which should you buy?

Garmin and Fitbit are among the top two brands when it comes to fitness trackers. When looking at the Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Fitbit Inspire 2, in particular, both are affordable, entry-level trackers that would make great first options for someone just getting started on their fitness, health, and wellness journey. While they come in at low prices, however, both offer a ton of features you'd only expect to see in a premium fitness tracker. They are pretty on par with one another, with the Garmin Vivosmart 5 being a newer model and the Fitbit Inspire 2 already being a few years old. Nonetheless, the features make the decision difficult. Here, we'll compare and contrast to help you choose the right one.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Fitbit Inspire 2: All about the looks

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Garmin Vivosmart 5

(Image credit: Future)

Both the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Inspire 2 have thin, long rectangular faces that clip into a band. The screens might be a little too small for some, particularly the Vivosmart 5 since it's surrounded by a thicker bezel around the front whereas the Inspire 2 is all screen, making it almost twice as big. Both are OLED so they offer a crisp view of the text, stats, and notifications.

Both also work with replaceable bands but the Inspire 2 has a ton more options, including leather, stainless steel, double strap leather, and even a clip if you prefer to wear it somewhere other than on your wrist. With that said, Android Central's Jeramy Johnson did find in his review that the band attachment mechanism was frustrating, so if you plan to buy the tracker and keep the standard silicone band on for the duration of time you use it, the many band options might not matter.

 The Vivosmart 5 comes in black, white, or cool mint and small/medium or large sizes, while the Inspire 2 comes in black, Lunar White, or Desert Rose finishes and in small and large sizes.

Fitbit Inspire 2

(Image credit: Fitbit)

The Vivosmart 5 is much smaller so if you really want something unobtrusive, you might want to opt for that model instead. However, both are very thin and lightweight options.

The two watches also work with the partner app where you can view stats there or on the device's screen, as well as change clock faces to further personalize the look. You can also join the community to compete in challenges and see where you stack up. Both also work seamlessly with either Android or iPhone, though you'll get some added features with Android phones. Namely, with the Garmin Vivosmart 5, you can respond to texts from an Android phone directly from the tracker. With the Fitbit Inspire 2, you can enjoy Google Fast Pair with a compatible Android smartphone for quick and easy set-up. Both display smartphone notifications for added convenience.

Garmin Vivosmart 5t vs. Fitbit Inspire 2: Let's break things down

Before getting further into how these two fitness trackers operate, let's see how the comparison looks when it comes down to basic specs.

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Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Fitbit Inspire 2
Header Cell - Column 0 Garmin Vivosmart 5Fitbit Inspire 2
CompatibilityAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
ColorsBlack, White, Cool MintBlack, Lunar White, Desert Rose
Swappable BandYesYes
Battery LifeUp to 7 DaysUp to 10 Days
AppGarmin ConnectFitbit
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
Stress TrackingYesYes
Mindful BreathingYesYes
Sleep MonitoringYesYes
Phone NotificationsYesYes
Pulse OX SensorYesNo
Mobile PaymentsNoNo
Screen Size0.41 x 0.73 inches1.4 inches
Screen Resolution88 x 154 Pixel OLED126 x 36 Pixel OLED

In many respects, these two fitness trackers are very similar. But when it comes to the internals, there are minor ways they differ that could be deal-breakers for some. We'll get into the nitty gritty in the next section.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Fitbit Inspire 2: The basic features and functions

Garmin Vivosmart 5 screen close-up

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

The most important thing about a fitness tracker is that it can, well, track all the essentials. When it comes to the bare-bones basics like steps, calories burned, distance traveled, sleep, heart rate, and sports and activities, both do a wonderful job. Both have pre-loaded sports apps for things like yoga, cycling, Pilates, strength training, and more, while the Inspire 2 can even automatically track a few of them using the SmartTrack feature. 

Both can also track stress and deliver reminders to do breathing exercises as well as offer mindfulness and breathing exercise options. They also offer female health tracking. You won't get built-in GPS with either, nor the ability to make mobile payments from your wrist. But those are features typically reserved for more feature-rich, larger-screened smartwatches anyway. And with both, you can still bring your phone along with you to track routes by connecting to the phone's GPS antenna.

Garmin Connect Body Battery results with Garmin Vivosmart 5

(Image credit: Android Central)

With the Garmin vivosmart 5, you also get blood oxygen saturation measurements via Pulse OX, body battery energy monitoring that will advise of the best time to work out or, conversely, to rest, and you'll get a fitness age that uses your actual age, activity, resting heart rate, and body mass index (BMI) to determine if your fitness level is younger or older than your real age. In his review, Andrew Myrick found Body Battery monitoring and sleep tracking to be an "awesome combination." 

The Fitbit Inspire 2, meanwhile, adds a Daily Readiness Score that will let you know when it's a good time to work out, functioning similarly to the body battery energy monitoring. However, you require a subscription to Fitbit Premium to get this; but the tracker comes with a full year to get you started. You won't get Pulse OX but you do get skin temperature monitoring and cardio fitness levels. Active Zone Minutes, which don't require a Premium subscription, will provide a detailed summary of your workout, advising not only how long you worked out but how many minutes you dedicated to different target heart rate zones, including peak, cardio, and fat burn.

How To Factory Reset Fitbit Inspire 2 Step 2

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Both can be worn while swimming or in the shower thanks to the 5ATM rating, so they are versatile, sleek, thin fitness trackers. Based on the basic features, if you are looking for a workout companion that can provide everything you need, you might want to opt for the Inspire 2 since it comes with a year of Fitbit Premium that you can use to access tons of workouts, mindfulness exercises, nutrition support, and more. You'll also get more detailed information about things like sleep and your overall health and wellness. However, keep in mind that once the year is up, you'll have to fork over the $80/yr. to continue. With that said, the 12-month period gives you more than enough time to figure out if Fitbit Premium is worth it. If you decide it isn't, you still get some stellar features with the tracker.

However, if you value data like pulse OX and want something smaller, you might prefer the Garmin Vivosmart 5.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Fitbit Inspire 2: More added features to sway the decision

fitbit cropped image screenshot tile

(Image credit: tile)

If you still find yourself torn between these two similar fitness trackers, there are a few additional features that could sway the decision.

When it comes to battery life, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 has a shorter battery life than the Inspire 2 at seven days versus 10. However, both last for up to a week which is more than decent. 

The Garmin Vivosmart 5 adds incident detection during select outdoor activities, which will send a message and your live location to emergency contacts if necessary. This is great as a safety feature in case of a fall or medical emergency. It also has the Find my Watch feature so you can locate it if it's lost or misplaced.

The Fitbit Inspire 2 doesn't have a similar safety feature, but it does have built-in Tile tracking so you can download the Tile app on a compatible phone to track the location of the device should it be lost, stolen, or misplaced.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Inspire 2: Which should you get?

Fitbit Inspire 2

(Image credit: Fitbit)

It's really a tough decision between these two fitness trackers since they stack up pretty nicely against one another. However, given the lower price and the inclusion of a one-year subscription to Fitbit Premium, I would have to go with the Fitbit Inspire 2. 

If you already have workouts you use, or want the tracker to track sports and specific activities, like cycling, you might prefer the Garmin Vivosmart 5, however. Fitbit Premium is only worth it if you're going to make good use of all of the data it provides, along with the workouts and other information. If you simply want something to track your daily activities and provide information on heart rate, sleep, and more, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 is a good option. 

Fitbit Inspire 2 is a clear win with a lower price and a subscription to Fitbit Premium.

Or, the decision between the Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Fitbit Inspire 2 may simply come down to what device your friends or family members own. It's truly motivational to use a fitness tracker with others and compete in challenges to compare and contrast your stats. Both Garmin and Fitbit have wonderful apps and great online communities. So the decision may come down to which one you feel like you'd be able to connect with more people when using. 

As a long-time Fitbit user, I'm partial to Fitbit since I know the app and the features well. But I have friends who have switched to Garmin and never looked back. Given the added battery life, promotional subscription, Tile integration, bigger and better resolution screen, and interchangeable bands, however, I'd confidently stick with Fitbit. But if you want the latest and greatest, you need to keep in mind that it's an older-model device. If you're looking for something that might cost a bit more but is a newer Fitbit model with more features, consider our picks for the best Fitbits; and note that we include the Inspire 2 on this list.

Christine Persaud

Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.